Archive for August, 2010

ADHP–Attention Demanding Hyperactive Parenting

Carla: I’m coining a new term: ADHP–Attention Demanding Hyperactive Parenting. It’s my–and maybe your–tendency to over-parent.

I’ve had a few conversations lately that have me wondering if I am too worried, too protective, too uptight with my kids. We aren’t what I would consider strict or rigid parents–we don’t have a lot of rules or systems or charts in place. Our kids have a lot of input into how we operate as a family and we try not to say no unless we have a good reason to. That’s worked well for us so far.

But we have a teenager now, which means there are a new set of issues looming on the horizon. And now I’m starting to wonder if I’m holding on too tight, being too rigid, protecting her from…growing up?

I don’t think of myself as a so-called helicopter parent who looms over my kids, watching and micromanaging their every move. But then, helicopter parents don’t really think they are helicopter parents, do they? So how do I know when I’m overparenting? How do I know when to let go a little bit?

I am a big believer that part of my job is to protect my children’s innocence because once it’s gone, it doesn’t come back. So we say no to most PG-13 movies and music with lyrics that aren’t appropriate for a 13-year-old girl to sing along to (“Love the Way You Lie” anyone?). I don’t let my 9-year-old play video games where people are killed. None of the kids have their own phones. But I don’t want to raise those kids who turn 18, head to college, and have no idea how to function in the world because their parents have made all of their choices for them and they have no idea how to filter out the good from the bad.

I also realize that there is no rule of thumb for parental protection. Location plays a part: We would parent quite differently if we lived 10 blocks in any direction from where we live. 10 blocks north and I’d be worried about letting them play in the yard without me there. 10 blocks west and I’d let them ride their bikes anywhere they wanted to go. And obviously their ages play a part. But I play the biggest part–my fears, both rational an not-so-rational, and my hopes for them–and I just don’t know how I’m doing.

So tell me Revolutionaries, how do you know when you’re being overly protective? How do you stop over parenting?

OOOOH! And update! Our friend Makeesha pointed me to this link today. It helps a bit.

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Guest Post: Shauna Niequist on Bittersweet

Caryn: When I first met Shauna Niequist last year, we talked about book projects. I was, I’m sure, noticeably taken aback to find out about the project she was working on as we chatted. Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way, sounded a lot like the project I had just signed a contract for: my own Grumble Hallelujah: No real subhead yet, but something about loving your life even when it’s not the way it was supposed to be…..

So imagine my relief, when I got my hands on an advanced copy of Bittersweet and saw that while our themes were similar, the books are not. You should feel happy to go out and buy a zillion copies of Shauna’s book and then still buy a zillion of mine when it’s out next year. Phew.

But since I have gone through my own “Bittersweet” season over the past several years, I’m so excited about what Shauna’s writing about. Particularly, I loved what she has to say about feeling “stuck,” about dealing with hurt in our lives, and the role prayer has in all of it, which I think are Mommy Revolutionary-ish themes, right?

Read on, enjoy this excerpt from Bittersweet, and then share your thoughts:

Shauna: When I look back at this most recent season, what I see are a thousand things I wish I would have done differently. I wish I would have been more patient. I wish I would have depended more heavily on the words of Scripture and the biblical pattern of life after death. I wish I wouldn’t have eaten so much pizza, especially late at night.

What kept me stuck, when I was stuck, were my own demands and expectations, my own collection of fear and anxiety. And what got me through, when I got through, were the times I spent with people I loved and the times I spent in prayer. It’s pretty much that clear, looking back on it all now.

I’m more certain than ever that prayer is at the heart of transformation. And also that God’s will has a lot more to do with inviting us to become more than we previously have been than about getting us to one very specific destination. God’s will, should we choose to engage in it, will generally feel like surgery, rooting out all the darkness and fear we’ve come to live with.

My friend Steve says that God doesn’t speak to everyone the same way, but that he generally speaks the same way over and over again to each person. I think that’s absolutely true. God generally speaks to me through grand gestures. Actually I think he speaks to me first in whispers, and that I don’t listen until he’s shouting. I regret this, and I think the last few years could have been a little easier had I been a better listener.

But I’m learning. It’s human to struggle. It’s human to nurse a broken heart, to wonder if the pain will ever let up, to howl through your tears every once in a while. And the best, most redeeming, exciting thing I can imagine, from the smashed-up, broken place I’ve been, is that something beautiful could blossom out of the wreckage. That’s the goal.